Everything you need to know about lifted increases in knitting. Left- and right-leaning stitches for the right and wrong side.
I still remember the very first time someone showed me a lifted increase. It literally blew my mind away and made me question why I stuck to M1R & M1L for all these years. Why? Because the corresponding right and left lifted increases are both easier to knit and almost invisible.
Now granted, the first time you will follow the instructions for a left lifted increase, it might seem a bit complicated because you are lifting a stitch back to the needle that is two rows below. That feels very unusual and maybe even intimidating. But I guarantee you, after you did it two or three times, you will realize how truly easy they are and you will eschew all the other knitting increase.
And the best part, most lifted increases are super invisible. Stitches like KFB or M1 often leave behind an eyelet or a bar that can be very noticeable if you are knitting in stockinette stitch. On top of that, the names are very descriptive so you never end up guessing how you have to knit them.
So, let’s dive right into it.
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- Knit one stitch as normal as a preparation (note: this stitch is technically speaking NOT part of the left lifted increase. So if your pattern says LLI, it means you have to perform the steps starting from #2 after a knit stitch)
- Insert your left needle into the stitch two rows below the one you just knitted on your right needle coming from the back (so you don’t twist it).
- Now, pick up only the left leg of that stitch and lift it to your left needle.
Note: Some people find it's easier to insert and lift with the right needle. So, try both and check out what suits you better.
- Knit this extra stitch through the back loop, drop it, and continue knitting according to your pattern.
This knitting increase works best in a knit row with another knit row below.
LLI is by far the most common lifted increase. You will also find it under the name KLL – knit left loop. That’s what I usually call it because it’s a bit more descriptive and less cryptic.
Right lifted increase (RLI)
You probably already know that almost everything in knitting comes in pairs. So it might not be a big surprise that there is a corresponding left-leaning lifted increase called right-lifted increase or RLI.
You knit it in a very similar way but instead of lifting the left loop of the stitch two rows below the one you just knitted, you pick the left loop one row below the first stitch on your left needle. It is often also called KRL – knit right loop.
You can find my full tutorial on how to knit the right-lifted increase here
Left Lifted Purl Increase (LLPI)
Lifted increases cannot only be knitted on the right side, they also work on the wrong side. It’s the exact same concept – the only difference is that you work with a purl stitch instead of a knit stitch.
These increases are a bit rarer. Still, the left-lifted purl increase (LLPI) is definitely an option for purl-heavy patterns. It also goes by the name PLL – purl left loop and the purled left-lifted increase – PLLI.
Right Lifted Purl Increase (RLPI)
The right lifted purl increase might just be my personal favorite purl increase as it creates a super neat increase line on the wrong side (and that’s very hard to find).
One thing you should know is that PRL and LLI form a mirrored pair. So, they look exactly the same on the right and on the wrong side – the only difference is where you knit them. That knowledge can definitely come in handy if either you knit your knit stitches and purl stitches with a different tension. Then you can pick the version that looks neatest for you.
For me, working a decrease on the wrong side looks slightly neater.